What Stops us from Reading the Bible?
We know we should read the Bible, but why don’t we?
The Bible has never been so accessible to us as it is today. We have versions of the Bible in so many different forms; we have Bibles on our smartphones, on our computers, on the Internet, paper copies in our homes, in the church, and even maybe at our work. Without even trying to look too hard we can find a Bible of some sort. Some are easier to read like The Message translation, others are a bit harder to digest i.e. The Kings James Version (KJV)
The Bible was written thousands of years ago, a fact that many people claim is a main factor to why they don’t read the Bible; that it is outdated and irrelevant. Its true that the Bible was written a long time ago, but I would disagree that it is irrelevant and outdated.
There are a lot of things happening in the world today that we see on the news when we wake up and go to sleep; terrorist strikes, suicide bombings, hundreds of people dying all around the world caused not by their own will. Many people would say they want world peace, to live in a time where there is no war, where everyone gets along. Believe it or not, we can get principles to live like that through the Bible!
I have been more intentional about studying the Bible over the last three weeks, going deeper with it, looking at who wrote books of the Bible, what they would’ve meant, and what it would have meant to the original hearers and readers. One of the biggest things that stopped me from reading the Bible before was that I thought it was way too confusing, I didn’t understand what was being said, I thought it wasn’t relevant to me. This is totally not so! I need the Bible just as much as I need physical food; we all need the Bible just as much as we need food.
I just didn’t know HOW to read the Bible. I had heard all the classic stories in Sunday school, and all the famous verses, but when I read the Bible, I didn’t know how to read it, I didn’t know what to look for, or what I was supposed to get or understand. But now, I love reading it! I’m getting more and more understanding day by day!
So what has changed?
Simply, I’ve learnt how to read the Bible. No secret formula or going on a ‘spiritual journey’ to find myself, but learning how to read it. The Bible is so much more than just a collection of books, there’s so much back story to it which blows my mind on a regular basis. To understand the Bible, you simply can’t just read it, you need to look at the context, when and where it was written, who the book was written to/for, books of the Bible were written with a specific purpose and intention. When I started to look at the historical settings, seeing when the book would’ve been written and what the environment of the people who received the letter would’ve been like, I then got a better understanding to what the book meant and why it was written. This brought a whole new understanding to me, it brought the Bible to life!
If we read the Bible literally, we won’t get anywhere. We need to know the background of the book and the people, and also to interpret what the writers were saying and what the original hearers or readers would’ve felt. When we understand all of this, and begin to look deeper into the Bible, we can pick out principles from the books and apply to our own life today.
Reading just leads to information, but application leads to life transformation.
For a more detailed and practical explanation on how to read the Bible, you can have a look at my second article on the Inductive Study Approach.